Taiwan saw its very first same-sex Buddhist wedding which took place in a monastery in Taoyuan over the weekend. 300 attendees chanted Buddhist sutras for the lesbian couple, both 30, as they said “I do” in front of a Buddha statue and exchanged prayer beads instead of rings.
Shih Chao-hui, a female Buddhist master who presided over the ritual, hailed it as a historic moment.
“We are witnessing history. The two women are willing to stand out and fight for their fate… to overcome social discrimination,” said Shih, a well-known advocate for social justice.
“Some people might find it astounding (a woman performing the ceremony) but Buddhism does not engage in ideological struggles and I am used to strange looks from my own experience in the social movement,” she said.
The couple’s parents were notably absent from the ceremony, in an indication of the pressure facing some homosexuals and their families.
“Our parents initially agreed to attend and they regret that they couldn’t be here. We understand that people have different acceptance of media exposure and we want to give them more space,” Huang said shortly before the wedding.
“We hope with the master’s support, the wedding will change many people’s perspective even though it is not legally binding,” said the social worker. “We hope the government can legalise same-sex marriage soon.”